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OpenMarket: December 2010

  • The Censuring of Charles Rangel

    December 3, 2010
    Charles Rangel was censured yesterday by the House. In a solemn voice, Nancy Pelosi led the censuring. It lasted a whole 45 seconds, after which Rangel spoke to the House and held a press conference (where his defiance and arrogance returned) talking about what a swell guy he really is, accusing the censuring of being politically motivated, etc. This entire process makes a mockery of the idea that our politicians are actually subject to any sort of accountability, and to the news media who continually use the word "severe" in the same sentence as censure. As Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post:
    But if it's any consolation, Rangel should know that however harmed he was by the censure, the entity...
  • Morning Media Summary

    December 3, 2010
    Tech: WikiLeaks switches to Swiss domain after attacks: “WikiLeaks was forced Friday to switch over to a Swiss domain name,, after a new round of hacker attacks on its system prompted its American domain name provider to withdraw service.” Google Cops To “Street View” Trespassing: “Google has admitted that it trespassed on the property of a Pittsburgh-area family when one of its “Street View” cars photographed their home, but the search giant is only paying damages of $1 for its online intrusion.” Time to Shut Down the FCC: “It's time to close the Federal Communications Commission. This...
  • Senate Leaders Violate Constitution in Pushing Through Costly Food Safety Modernization Act

    December 2, 2010
    The House and Senate passed different versions of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which would ratchet up costly regulations of farms and food processing.  (Greg Conko explains how the bill's expensive and cumbersome red tape might thwart "firms from developing innovative new processes and practices that could deliver real food safety improvements.")   But as Conko and law professor Jonathan Adler have separately noted, there is a constitutional problem with the bill.  As Conko notes, the "user fees added to the Senate version run afoul of a constitutional requirement that tax measures originate in the House. Similarly, Professor...
  • Brian McGraw on China's Green Economy

    December 2, 2010

    Watch the interview on YouTube

  • Homeland Security Violating Due Process and Free Speech In Internet Power Grab?

    December 2, 2010
    Law professor David Post notes that the Department of Homeland Security is seizing entire domain names, not to protect national security, but to enforce run-of-the-mill copyrights.  He calls this an unconstitutional due process violation, noting that "80 websites . . . have now been prevented from speaking to US citizens even though the website operators, whose domains were seized, had no notice or opportunity to respond to the charges against them (and to argue, for instance, that they are NOT infringing copyrights or trademarks), no adversary hearing, and certainly no adjudication before a neutral [judge],...
  • Colorado to Ban Light & Low-Calorie Beer in Bars?

    December 2, 2010
  • Bob Barr Still Supports Ethanol Subsidies

    December 2, 2010
    In a piece on The Hill's Congressional Blog, former Republican congressman and the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr expresses support for the extension of a tax subsidy enjoyed by the ethanol industry, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC). Accusing someone of being a shill for industry is not a light accusation, but as a conservative/libertarian, Barr's support is puzzling, and contrary to his previous positions, to the extent that I can see no other explanation other than having a financial interest in supporting ethanol subsidies: In April of 2009, Barr referred to ethanol as "that still-active ethanol...
  • Seattle Land Use Liberalization Bill Fails to Address Key Problems

    December 2, 2010
    Stephen Smith of Market Urbanism asked me what I thought of proposed legislation in Seattle that would remove some restrictions on land use and real estate development in parts of the city. Smith points to this summary of the zoning changes that would affect a mere 8 percent of the city, which include: a five-foot increase in the maximum building height restriction, determining building size by floor area...
  • Federal Pay Freeze Discussion: Pointlessly Partisan

    December 2, 2010
    This week the White House announced its brave new plan to fix the economy: Freezing the salaries of federal employees. But wait! This is not a brave new plan at all. Freezing federal paychecks has been bandied about in the House for awhile now. Both sides have been leaning on this as a "symbolic" gesture, or -- in one case -- a "cynical ploy." But wait, part two! This federal pay freeze isn't really a spending freeze at all. Freezing paychecks is not even a symbolic gesture when, as CEI Labor Policy Counsel Vinnie Vernuccio points out, the...
  • Federal Register Hits 75,000 Pages

    December 2, 2010
    At its current 327-page per day pace, the 2010 Federal Register would be 81,560 unadjusted pages long.


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